South Korea improves visa procedures for Philippine market

South Korea will open a Korea Visa Application Center (KVAC) in Taguig, the Philippines on August 14, a move expected to reinvigorate outbound travel to what was once the top destination for Filipinos.

Philippine outbound to South Korea slowed down drastically when the latter implemented early this year the Online Visa Appointment System, with limited slots for accepting applications, and abolished the accreditation of 36 travel agencies authorised to submit applications on behalf of individual clients.

The Korea Visa Application Center is expected to reinvigorate travel from the Philippines to South Korea

The Korean Embassy in Manila announced that with the opening of KVAC at Brittany Hotel in BGC, Taguig, only applications with online reservations will be accepted during its pilot operation period between August 14 and 25.

From August 29, however, online reservations will no longer be required and walk-in visa applications will be accepted on any working day with no limit to the number of visa applications accepted per day.

Also from August 29, visa applications will be accepted at KVAC only if filed in person or through one of the 36 designated travel agencies for 2022, which remains valid. An updated list will be announced later as well as more details on the new visa policy and related information.

Prior to the announcement about the opening of KVAC, the embassy implemented on June 27 the accreditation of eight travel agencies for applying e-group visas for a minimum of three pax, with certain strictures.

Maria Paz Alberto, president of Ark Travel Express which is one of South Korea’s accredited agencies, said the opening of KVAC with the new visa application process “is a great move to increase tourism in their country”.

“This would mean that there will be an increase in the number of people flying to Seoul,” Alberto added.

The head of another accredited travel agency withheld comments pending the actual implementation of the new process, but said KVAC will simplify visa processing and, hopefully, it will be a better process.

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